Gender, Management and Leadership

Introduction

This paper seeks to compare and contrast the leadership styles of two leaders with different genders. The main areas covered include the justification for the choice of leaders, detailed and critical investigation of the differences between their management styles along with the application of the main principles of gender management. This paper will focus on the hypothesis that female leadership is different from male leadership style and the main implications of these differences on organizational performance.

Rationale

For the purpose of this paper, Anne Wintour and Larry Page were chosen as the leaders to be discussed. Anne Wintour is the female CEO of Vogue and Larry Page is the male CEO of Google. Both these leaders are well known for their management and leadership styles, which are different from each other. Both Vogue and Google are internationally known organisations and maintain stable financial growth. Vogue is a fashion magazine and Google is a technology company. Both companies aim for the development of ways by which the consumers can connect to information (Vogue US Official Website, 2013; Google Official Website, 2013).These leaders were chosen in order to demonstrate leadership styles at two extreme ends. This will aid in the translation of the implications of such different management behaviours on organizational performance. This will also help to identify which management/leadership style is the most beneficial for the corporate culture and achievement of the organisational objectives.

Discussion

Anne Wintour is the long time Editor in Chief of Vogue, USA. She is known for her icy character and the emotional distance she keeps from everyone, She has been described as emotionless and remote (Daily Mail, 2011). There have been a number of discussions on the subject of her character, as being the main driver for Vogue’s success (Daily Mail, 2011). She is considered to be one of the most powerful women (69th rank in Forbes, 2011) in the world. Manlow, (2009) states that Anne Wintour has been called “Nuclear Wintour” for her management style, which was negatively perceived by her employees. This implies that in the majority of cases, Anne Wintour’s attitude towards employees may be considered intimidating and hostile. This leader has been considered to be ignorant towards the needs of her employees. As a result, her leadership style could be defined as being authoritative (Lewin et al, 1939). This contradicts with the significance of moral leadership that implies that the leader should be concerned about their employees (Everett, 2011). Abiodun (2010) agrees that there is a strong correlation between the satisfaction of employees and customer satisfaction. Thus implying that employee satisfaction directly affects the increase in employee morale, which in turn drives the productivity of organization. Based on this argument, deductive reasoning would dictate that customer satisfaction would be low at Forbes due to lack of employee satisfaction. However, as discussed in this essay, Vogue’s financial performance and global prominence are impressive. Therefore Anne Wintour’s leadership style does not seem to adversely affect Vogue’s financial performance or employee productivity.

On the other hand, there is Larry Page, the CEO and co-founder of Google. Google is well known for integrating it’s human resource strategies that transform work into an attraction (CNN Money, 2011). Larry Page is known to be involved in every single activity of the company, thus creating the perception that he is one of the employees, rather than CEO of the company. In contrast to the dominating behaviour of Anne Wintour, Larry Page promotes openness and collaborative leadership (Northouse, 2010). He is constantly looking for new talents, mainly among the students; whereas Anne Wintour tends to be intimidating towards younger talents (Daily Mail, 2011). Even though the aim of both leaders is the same (find talented and smart employees), their approach to management and leadership is different. For instance, in order to increase the employee morale, Larry Page tends to integrate both elements of work and play (Everett, 2011). This suggests that he wants employees to feel relaxed and taken care of. He believes that employee productivity is directly correlated to the openness and relaxation at the workplace, which are the main drivers for creativity to emerge according to Everett (2011). Larry Page’s leadership style may be defined as democratic (Lewin et al, 1939). Instead of providing interviews and public speaking, this leader is focused on collaborating with the employees; thus achieving the best possible results. This is driven by his introvert character, which suggests that he is not the type of leader to share every success with the world. However, he is more focused on the development of cohesion and understanding in the company (Northouse, 2010). Furthermore, Larry Page seems more focused on the company itself and achieving great results. Recent reports by CNN Money (2011) suggest that the avoidance of public speaking has negatively affected Google’s organizational performance. This is evidenced by the fact that a lack of post-earnings conference with investors allegedly weakened Google’s stock price by 8% in 2011 (CNN Money, 2011).

Manning and Curtis, (2003) suggest that a true leader should possess the ability to lead with integrity, vitality, charisma, persistence, stability, vision and concern for others. Larry Page possesses almost all the aspects of a true leader. However, one of the main concerns for him is charisma, which can be ascertained based on his lack of communication with external stakeholders. With regards to Anne Wintour, her main weakness is the inability to be concerned about her employees. However, this does not affect the performance of her company. Furthermore, this could be seen as an advantage, as there have been discussions recently about making Anne Wintour one of the US Ambassadors (Bloomberg, 2012). Her dominating behaviour helps Anne Wintour make sure that all business processes are controlled and monitored. However, Seperich and McCalley (2006) argue that the “fear of the boss” among employees may result in obstruction for creativity emergence, which is an integral part of business process in the fashion editing industry. Anne Wintour’s leadership style is driven by her willingness to bypass gender lines. This implies that she is willing to decrease the significance of sexism in the context of management and leadership (Daily Mail, 2011).

Conclusion

This paper was written to demonstrate differences in the leadership styles between the male and female CEOs. Anne Wintour of Vogue USA and Larry Page of Google Corporation were discussed and analysed. As a result of the case study analysis, it has been concluded that authoritative and democratic types of leadership work well in the context of organizational performance. This is mainly due to the fact that both companies have maintained a stable financial growth, and have acquired an international brand reputation.

As a result, even though the authoritative leadership style of Anne Wintour might be considered as an obstacle to the productivity of the company; whereas Larry Page’s introvert character has also negatively affected Google’s performance, the vision of these leaders drive the success of the related organizations.

Further research would be required to determine whether authoritative or democratic leadership styles are more suitable to particular genders. Also, the limitation in this analysis is that CEOs from different industries and with different leadership styles have been chosen. This may have led to analysis bias.

References

Abiodoun R. (2010). Leadership Behavior Impact on Employee’s Loyalty, Engagement and Organizational Performance. Author House: USA

Bloomberg. (2012). Ambassador Anna Wintour Would Make the U.S. Look Good. Available: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-04/ambassador-anna-wintour-would-make-the-u-s-look-good.html (Accessed on 6/2/2013)

CNN Money. (2011). What would Larry Page doLeadership lessons from Google’s doyen. Available: http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2011/04/18/what-would-larry-page-do-leadership-lessons-from-googles-doyen/ (Accessed on 6/2/2013)

Daily Mail. (2011). Anna Wintour claims she is not intimidating… Vogue interns may beg to differ. Available: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2030249/Anna-Wintour-claims-intimidating-Vogue-interns-beg-differ.html#axzz2KDbDbfUR (Accessed on 6/2/2013)

Everett A., (2011). Benefits and Challenges of Fun in the Workplace. Library Leadership and Management, 25, 1, 1-10

Google Official Website. (2013). Available: www.google.com (Accessed on 6/2/2013)

Lewin, K., Lippit, R. and White, R. (1939). Patterns of aggressive behavior in experimentally created social climates. Journal of Social Psychology, 10, 271-301

Manning G., Curtis K. (2003). The Art of Leadership. McGraw Hill: USA

Manlow V. (2009). Designing Clothes: Culture and Organization of the Fashion Industry. Transaction Publishers: USA

Northouse, P. G. (2010). Leadership, theory and practice. (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Seperich G., McCalley R. (2006). Managing Power And People. M.E. Sharpe: USA

Vogue Official Website. (2013). Available: www.vogue.com (Accessed on 6/2/2013)

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